Cloud-seeding project cost rises from Rs 12 cr to Rs 20 cr in a week | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Cloud-seeding project cost rises from Rs 12 cr to Rs 20 cr in a week

Even as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is still waiting for state and Central clearances for its cloud-seeding project, the cost of the project, earlier estimated at Rs 12 crore, has now escalated to around Rs 20 crore, in just a week.

mumbai Updated: Aug 23, 2012 01:18 IST

Even as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is still waiting for state and Central clearances for its cloud-seeding project, the cost of the project, earlier estimated at Rs 12 crore, has now escalated to around Rs 20 crore, in just a week.

The civic body had announced that it would go ahead with the controversial experiment, owing to poor rainfall this year. The BMC had experimented with cloud seeding in 2009 as well, but the project had failed.

However, uncertainty prevails over the project, which seems to be encountering hurdles at every step. The Israeli firm, Mekotor, which the BMC has tied up with for the experiment, will not be able to provide aircraft for the project, owing to technical difficulties. The BMC is now in talks with South African firm My Omni to procure an airplane.

However, as per the estimates provided by the new company, the civic body will have to spend around Rs10 crore only to hire the aircraft. “The project cost will rise to up to Rs 20 crore as we have to sign a contract with a new company. However, we are hopeful the money we spend will yield good results,” said Rahul Shewale, chairman, standing committee.

“We will be providing aircraft necessary for the project, but all the technical data and help will be provided by Mekorot,” said Kedar Pathak from My Omni.

Moreover, till the civic body gets the necessary government clearances, they cannot begin work. “Work orders cannot be given to the firm unless required permissions are obtained. Permissions from the ministry of home affairs and civil aviation, and of the Ozar aerodrome in Nashik district, which will be used by the aircraft, are awaited,” said Ramesh Bhambale, chief hydraulic engineer.

Slamming the civic body for the cost escalation, Shyama Kulkarni, trustee, AGNI said: “The cost escalation in just a week’s time is highly unacceptable. Instead of short term measures such as cloud seeding, the BMC should look at projects such as desalination, which will be useful in the long term.”